What seven pundits have said about Celtic’s woes: ‘That’s not Neil Lennon’

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Neil Lennon is under increasing scrutiny as Celtic boss, and while he has the backing of a number of his former team-mates, some ex-players are beginning to question his credentials.

With Celtic expected to win the league every year, Lennon is under no illusions of the club’s expectations, However, a stuttering start to the season that included defeat in the Old Firm derby has put their chances of winning a 10th successive title at risk.

We’ve rounded up what seven pundits have said about Celtic’s woes and Lennon’s position as manager, ranging from support to stinging criticism.

Chris Sutton

The straight-talking pundit has had plenty to say about events at his old club.

After Celtic’s Europa League defeat to Milan, Sutton wrote in his Daily Record column: “Christie made a real difference to the team when he returned from self-isolation, yet his appearance from the bench for the second period gave me more questions than answers.

“I can’t understand why he didn’t start the game. The changing of the shape at the interval with the introduction of him and Mohamed Elyounoussi made a huge difference and it looked like an admission from the manager that he got it wrong at the beginning by sticking with the 3-5-2 formation which was so dismal against Rangers.”

READ: Chris Sutton discusses club career, upsetting Arsenal & snubbing England

Stiliyan Petrov

The former Celtic legend has spoken out about the increasing criticism his former team-mate finds himself under.

Speaking on talkSPORT, Petrov dismissed claims that Lennon should be replaced by Gordon Strachan.

“This is only speculation,” Petrov said. “Strachan had a great time at Celtic. He had great success, but we give up on people way too easy.

“Usually Celtic are competitive, they like to go toe-to-toe with Rangers but that wasn’t the case. We saw a hungrier Rangers. Ten in a row could be a big problem for Celtic.

“But don’t forget, last season Rangers started strongly but Celtic managed to find their feet and become more consistent during the season.”

Mark Wilson

Wilson played at Celtic Park for six years between 2006 and 2012 and recently revealed on Clyde Superscoreboard how Lennon would motivate his squad for the Old Firm derby.

“You can imagine what Neil was like for Celtic vs Rangers games and how he got the players fired-up,” he said.

“He didn’t need to but you could see how much it meant to him. So I’ve more seen it from the management and the coaching team rather than the players. The players are in that zone from the Friday training session into the game on Saturday.”

READ: Paddy McCourt: I played on the pitch how I learned to play on the street

Paul Slane

Former Celtic winger Slane admitted he was shocked by Lennon following defeat in the recent Old Firm derby.

Speaking to Open Goal, he said: “Seriously, I need the real Neil Lennon to turn up. That is not Neil Lennon. I honestly believe the man standing on that touchline is a stunt double. I really do.

“Even on 70 minutes, Celtic are passing the ball side to side and he’s not saying anything. I remember in training if I passed the ball backwards he would be screaming the head off me.

“The way they played it was like a testimonial, I thought John Higgins and Martin Compston should have come on, that’s how bad it was.”

Barry Ferguson

It may surprise some to see a former Rangers captain back the current Celtic boss, but Ferguson has come out in support of the beleaguered manager.

Speaking to the Daily Record, Ferguson said: “Lennon’s teams are always aggressive with the ball. But I think it’s over the top with Lennon. It’s only one game, only three points for Rangers.

“I think Rangers were the better team and I think their tactics were perfect.”


READ: Shunsuke Nakamura: The Celtic legend who’s still going 11 years after leaving

Maurice Ross

The Motherwell boss has been outspoken about Celtic recently, claiming that his former club Rangers are now Scotland’s number one team.

He told BBC Sportsound after the Old Firm derby: “They are talking about ‘Rangers defended their box’. Rangers didn’t need to defend their box. For me, the way Celtic played it their understanding of 3-5-2 looks very basic.

“Rangers were in second gear yesterday. If you could super-impose a different coloured strip onto Celtic yesterday, it didn’t look like a Rangers v Celtic game, did it?

“I thought Rangers were in full control and I think Rangers right now are by far the best team in Scotland.”

Charlie Nicholas

Nicholas, who played for Celtic in two separate spells, has criticised Lennon for making excuses after the defeat to Rangers in October 2020. But the former striker stopped short of demanding Lennon be sacked.

Speaking in his Daily Express column, Nicholas said: “It is ludicrous that some Hoops fans are saying Celtic should get rid of manager Neil Lennon in the wake of their defeat to Rangers.

“Lennon, however, has to take his share of the blame because he got his team selection wrong. Yes, they were missing a few players on Saturday. But that can’t be used as an excuse.

“Lennon also can’t blame the 2-0 defeat on the mole who leaked his line-up on the eve of the clash. This is the biggest test they have faced since they won the first title of their nine.”

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